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The transition from cherry blossom season to shinryoku season, known as "fresh green," marks a notable shift in Japan's natural beauty. Among the many regions in Japan renowned for their scenic landscapes, Tohoku stands out as a top destination, offering an abundance of outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and rejuvenating hot springs called onsens.


As May unfolds, the weather remains cool and refreshing, providing the perfect atmosphere for nature's vibrant display. Spring brings forth a colorful array of azaleas and wisteria vines, while the arrival of June unveils deep blue and purple hydrangeas. These stunning hues create a striking contrast against the brilliant greenery that blankets the surroundings, captivating visitors with its beauty.

During my time in Sendai, the capital city of Miyagi prefecture in the Tohoku region, I was fortunate to experience this natural splendor firsthand. I resided just steps away from the revered temple grounds of Zuiho-ji and Zuihoden, which serve as the mausoleum complex of Date Masamune. Every day, I immersed myself in the serene ambiance of these areas, relishing in the morning air and the soft glow of spring sunlight filtering through the trees. While each season possesses its unique allure, May and June hold a particular charm that is hard to resist. Additionally, the soothing sounds of the nearby Hirose River provided a melodic backdrop to my explorations. Adjacent to the river, there is a picturesque pathway enticing visitors to embark on leisurely bike rides, walks, or picnics.


Despite not being a prominent tourist destination, Sendai offers an exceptional experience for those seeking to delve into the hidden gems of Japan. Spending a couple of nights in this city unveils an array of captivating sights and remarkable culinary delights. During spring, the local cuisine comes alive with the flavors of sansai, edible wild plants, and takenoko, tender bamboo shoots. These are just a couple of specialties amongst the many culinary delights of Sendai. 


Among my most cherished memories during my time in Sendai was a day trip to Yamadera, a mountain temple located in Yamagata Prefecture. The temple grounds, perched high up on a steep mountainside, afforded breathtaking panoramic views of the valley below. Following a rewarding hike, we indulged in a soba lunch which is one of Yamagata’s most beloved culinary treats. On our return train journey to Sendai, we made a stop at Sakunami onsen, specifically at the renowned Ichinobo hotel. Here, we immersed ourselves in the tranquil outdoor onsen, soothing our senses in the therapeutic hot spring waters while gazing upon the scenic mountain stream and the lush fresh greenery. This adventure is just one example of the numerous day trips available to visitors, promising an enchanting journey through the region's wonders.

The vivid foliage of shinryoku season acts as a balm for the soul after enduring a long, dark winter. I treasure the memories I made during my time in Japan and am now creating new ones here in the beautiful city of Vancouver. Currently, my workbench is filled with a plethora of jewelry pieces waiting to be adorned with layers of colors, inspired by the lushness of nature's spring rebirth.



JUN 10, 2023






東北地方、宮城県仙台市で暮らした期間、この素晴らしい自然を直接体験出来たことは本当に幸運でした。私の家は伊達政宗の霊廟 瑞鳳殿と伊達家ゆかりの瑞鳳寺のすぐそばにあり、





仙台から少し足を延ばした山形県 山寺への日帰り旅も、仙台在住の間の印象深い大事な思い出です。約1,000段の階段をのぼった先、急峻な山肌の高所に建つ寺院で待っていたのは、眼下に広がる谷合の、息をのむパノラマのような眺めでした。大満足のハイキングの後には、愛すべき山形名物、美味しい蕎麦ランチを楽しみました。





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Spring and the renewal symbolized by shades of pink

As winter comes to an end and spring begins, these first few months of the year can feel daunting. The festivities have passed, the weather is bleak, and it's back to the daily grind. However, this month can also be a time of renewal and rejuvenation, especially if we embrace our natural winter cycle.

A picture of my workspace, where I create wearable art.

The dark days of late February and March are perfect for recharging our energy and taking a step back to reflect. It's an opportunity to review the previous year, examine our past work, and think about how it can evolve and take on new forms. By following our natural inclination to hibernate, we prepare ourselves for the return of light and the start of a new creative cycle.

The tools I use to create my jewelry.

It's fascinating where ideas can come from during this time of year. Often, it's from doing the most mundane tasks such as cleaning and organizing our spaces. As we clear away the clutter from the busy months of the previous year, we make space for new ideas to emerge. Colours, sketches, and samples find their way to our worktables, and from there, we start to see new directions and possibilities.

Earrings inspired by shades of pink

This year, my collection of accumulated clutter has shown me the way forward. I've been inspired to incorporate more nature into my life and work, using the colours of spring, particularly shades of pink, to symbolize renewal and renewed hope. It feels like my cycle of chaos to order, creating a place for the birth of new work.

New wearable art for the spring.

During these cold, dark months, I've been dreaming of pink, which I believe will be my spring/summer colour obsession.It's exciting to see where this will take me and how it will influence my creative work. I’ve been poring over photos of hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season in Japan and the last few years in Vancouver, they have provided lots of colour inspiration. 

Necklace in shades of pink

Pink, in particular symbolizes the hopefulness and rebirth that spring brings. I’m very excited about the new resin and enamel collection which I will start adding to my website soon! These images will give you an idea of what’s to come!


Everyone has their own patterns and cycles during spring. Some people find it a time to reset and set new goals, while others use it to recharge and reflect. Whatever your approach, embrace it and see where it takes you. The dark days of spring may seem challenging, but they can also be a time of great creativity and renewal.



MAR 26, 2023















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This months blog focuses on the autumnal color of red. Read more to see how it's influenced by work. Continue reading

Working with Resin: A practice in patience

Working with Resin: A practice in patience

Japanese version below.

Last month, I wrote about the Japanese word gaman which means patience, and that blog serves as the perfect prelude for this month’s blog, on the creation of resin jewelry. Working with resin, regardless of what you are creating, requires a lot of patience. Some may not know what resin really is, or where it comes from; it is a naturally occurring material, formed in special resin cells of plants, usually produced when injury occurs. It has been used by humans for centuries, and more recently, man-made resins have also been produced. From perfumery to jewelry, resins play a big role in our craft.

My first experiences with working with resin

My first experiences with resin was as a painter, using beeswax, dammar resin, and pigments (encaustic painting) about 20 years ago. The textures and forms you could create with resin are almost endless, from translucent and opaque surfaces, to carved and layered to create texture and depth. When I began making wearable art, I extrapolated what I had learned as a painter with resin, and worked to create pieces that had a similar effect to encaustic paintings. It was in this extrapolation that I started experimenting with casting resin, and the painting process has influenced and continues to influence how I use colour and texture, a symbiotic relationship. 

Creating resin jewelry

There are many steps to creating resin earrings, pendants and brooches. First, I begin by making the bezels from bronze or silver, by soldering, forming, and cleaning them. After this is done, I prepare inclusions of gemstones and crystals to enhance the colour, and use images from my photo archive printed on fine washi (traditional Japanese paper) and gold or silver leaf. 

When the time comes to decide the colour of the resin is where I find most enjoyment. I peruse photos, gemstones, pearls, and other sources of inspiration to find a colour that I think captures the beauty of the jewelry. Over the years, I have noticed that a theme has emerged of decidedly deep blues of the sea and sky, teal greens, soft and silvery greys, and warm golds that I gravitate towards when choosing resin colours. 

To bring the piece of jewelry all together, I carefully place the bezels on a taped surface, and begin layering with silver or gold leaf, gems, washi, and, of course, the resin. Each piece is composed of three layers, and each layer requires curing time before the next can begin. After the pieces have cured completely (about three days), they are sanded by hand to a soft, matte finish. 

A practice in patience

There are a multitude of challenges that come with creating resin jewelry, that try my patience daily, and remind me of the themes of gaman I wrote about in my last blog. The best parts of the day are when there is a natural flow to the work, with no struggles or impatience. However, these moments would not be possible without the challenges, and I let the process guide and teach me—a student forevermore.  

Each piece of wearable art is carefully crafted from start to finish, or rather, from bezels to ear wires. You can see my new pieces featuring resin on my website, and more will be added soon, so keep an eye out! You can also subscribe to my newsletter to be informed of new jewelry launches and events. To see my newest work in person, visit me at the Summer Art and Craft Show, Tuesdays to Saturdays, until August 13th. I hope to see you there! 


JUL 31, 2022

























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Japanese version of this blog found below.

Practice makes patience… 

There are days, and all of us I’m sure can relate, where the world can feel somewhat bleak, and the tendency to becoming grumpy or irritable comes a little more naturally to us. On those days, it’s easy to fall into a cycle of negativity and resistance. During my 20 years in Japan, I learned about the philosophy of gaman. Gaman which can be translated as “patience”, “perseverance”, or “tolerance” is a deeply ingrained Buddhist concept/idea that is innate in Japanese culture. It is a way of reframing your mindset, instead of complaining or being irritable about something that is inevitable. Gaman means simply accepting what is and is not.. giving up control and developing acceptance and equanimity. 


Perhaps the concept of gaman was one of the reasons I was so drawn to Japan. While I was learning textile design in the 80’s I began to read about Japanese traditional weaving and dyeing techniques and this piqued my interest in other arts and crafts in Japan. I wanted to learn more of the process of craft, and developing the required patience was one of my greatest challenges! So much of  creating art and craft requires patience, perseverance, and the tolerance to push through when things go wrong. When I began learning metal smithing there were various techniques that really pushed me to my limits and there still are, it is the nature of the craft. Achieving the correct flame for soldering delicate pieces of metal, firing without breaking enamel work, trying to create a certain colour, keeping my studio organized are just a few of the challenges and the list goes on. Facing difficulties and impatience is a daily test and one that each artist and craftsperson must manage in order to evolve and refine their work. 

Developing gaman or patience can help slow things down and that’s where the beauty lies, in taking time. Then, working becomes a meditative process and I am able to find quiet space within and keep going. When making my wearable art, one of my favourite things is to create simple forms. Simplicity can appear effortless but achieving balance is not always easy, if the design is off by just a millimetre it can affect the overall design. While finding simplicity, I can get lost in the process of discovering the delicate line or curve, textures and colours letting the metal guide me and the entire process brings a sense of calm. 


Gaman/patience is not an innate human quality but rather something acquired through time and practice. In our busy and modern world, the old adage “patience is a virtue” or “good things come to those who wait” are increasingly difficult. We all want and expect immediate results, satisfaction and success. When I look around the modern world, I see all the ways in which the traditional arts and crafts have much to teach us about patience and perseverance, and building the tolerance for non-immediate results. 

Each handcrafted piece in my shop is crafted with these virtues, and I would love for you to check them out. In fact, I just added some new products to my store! You can view them here. To read my past blogs, click here. 



JUN 30, 2022















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As the extended rainy season ends in Vancouver, it begins in Japan, which the Japanese calle “tsuyu”. From early June to mid-July, the rainy, humid weather takes hold of the island, and creates the perfect conditions for moss to flourish. Moss has always inspired my art, and in this blog, I'll explain how! Continue reading

The Way of Sakura

The Way of Sakura

Japanese Version Below

The first blooms of spring 

After a long dark winter, we anticipate the arrival of cherry blossoms, and with them, spring. These delicate, pink and white flowers float like clouds on the tips of tree branches, and easily entrance us with their beauty. In Japan, these cherry blossoms, or “sakura” are deeply symbolic, and their blossoming brings with it centuries of tradition and ceremony across the country. The sakura in Japan have deep ties to the “wabi sabi” philosophy—the acceptance and the appreciation of the beauty of imperfect things. Sakura also connect to the Buddhist and Shinto themes of impermanence. The short blooming cherry blossoms remind us to live life with awareness and appreciation that nothing lasts forever, and almost everything, including life itself, is transitory. 


During the few short weeks that the cherry blossoms bloom, the people of Japan gather for “hanami”, or “flower viewing”. Hanami can be enjoyed alone, with a small group of friends and family, or in wild and raucous parties in local parks! I myself have participated in all three types of hanami, but found that my true joy was appreciating the sakura in the solace of early morning walks. 

What I learned from the way of the Sakura

The sakura palette inspired me in my jewelry creation, with hues of pale green, delicate and translucent whites, and pale and coppery deep pinks. Furthermore, during my time in Japan, I practiced Zen Buddhism, which opened my eyes to seeing fully—and in the moment. The act of slowing down, in order to better see colour sounds simple, but using that energy and expressing it through artwork is an ever elusive thing. There’s a paradoxical complexity to the most subtle shades of pink and white, and their delicacy requires an amount of calibration and refinement that is immense. 

Cherry blossoms in Trout Lake, Vancouver

In my pieces, I often use a lot of layering to bring a sense of depth. There are times when the colours are far too flat and don’t have the necessary light to bring them to life, and achieving that fine balance of depth and light is what I am always chasing, to evoke the colors of the Sakura with the early spring sun filtering through them. In my own opinion, I have yet to capture the ephemeral beauty but I think I came closest in these pieces: 


You can check them out on my store here

A Tanka 

I want to end this blog post about the beauty of the Sakura by sharing with you a tanka, and wishing you all a spring filled with renewal, hope, and optimism! 



Cherry blossoms having shed their flower bodies

are folded in 

among the fine gravel

where people walk 


Okamoto Kanoko 



APR 29, 2022














バンクーバー トラウトレイクの桜


作品では、何度も層を重ねることで奥行きを表現しています。色合いが単調で精彩に欠けるようなときは、早春の陽に透ける桜を想わせるような、深さと光の絶妙なバランスを捉えたいと いつも追い求めているのです。そのはかない美しさを捉え切ることは まだ出来ていませんが、これらの作品では大分近いところまで到達していると自負しています。







さくらばな 花体を解きて 人のふむ こまかき砂利に 交じりけるか


岡本 かの子


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